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Tuesday, December 5, 2023
HomeRECIPEJust Like Mom Used to Make

Just Like Mom Used to Make

Good morning. Lidey Heuck gave us a new recipe for goulash (above) that’s an Americanized take on the great Hungarian stew, with paprika-scented ground beef, bell peppers, diced tomatoes, macaroni and a healthy sprinkle of Cheddar stirred in at the end.

The paprika made me think of the terrific food writer Arthur Schwartz, who was once the restaurant critic for The Daily News and later became known as the Food Maven. Arthur and I got to talking about the spice when I interviewed him for a story about chicken paprikash. I’d asserted that most paprika languishes in spice drawers, and is stale and flavorless as a result. To make a proper paprikash or goulash, I said, the smart move is to purchase some new paprika, bright and flavorful.

Arthur contradicted me. “If you really want your food to taste like a Jewish grandmother’s,” he said, laughing, “you’ll need to season it with paprika that’s been stored near the stove for at least three years.”

Which is to say, make your goulash today with the spices you’ve got. Lidey’s recipe delivers!

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As for the rest of the week …

Priya Krishna developed this recipe for Indian-ish nachos with Cheddar, black beans and chutney with her mom, Ritu, and it’s become one of my favorite throw-together meals. Tortilla chips topped with black beans and melted cheese, then Jackson Pollock-ed with cilantro chutney and tamarind sauce? I bet you make it again within the month.

We call Melissa Clark’s recipe for skillet chicken with tomatoes, pancetta and mozzarella “pizza chicken” on account of what it looks like when it comes out of the oven: red and white and browned in spots, with basil snipped onto the surface of the “pie.” It’s a delicious weeknight feed and sophisticated to boot, like a chicken Parm with a graduate degree.

If you’re of Central or Eastern European descent, Ali Slagle’s recipe for haluski may not be your family’s recipe for haluski — buttered cabbage and noodles can be prepared in many ways — but it’s delicious nonetheless. And if you’re not of Central or Eastern European descent? It’s a marvelous introduction to the cuisine. Read the notes below the recipe: They’re heartwarming.

And then you can head into the weekend with Rick Martinez’s recipe for chicken enchiladas, which makes excellent use of a rotisserie chicken. Rick says to use the breasts alone, but the birds at my supermarket are relatively small, and I like a mixture of white and dark meat, so I go whole hog (bird).

There are many thousands more recipes waiting for you on New York Times Cooking and, for a limited time, you can view them at no cost. Just download The New York Times Cooking app to start your free trial. (If you’re on iOS, you can download the app here, or if you’re an Android user, you can use this link.)

Technical problems? Write cookingcare@nytimes.com. Emotional ones? Write directly to me: foodeditor@nytimes.com. I can’t respond to every letter. But I read every one I get.

Now, it has nothing particularly to do with food, but if you’re in New York at some point in the next few months, I urge you to take in the “Manet/Degas” show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which opens today. I managed to get in early and spend some quality time with Manet’s “Olympia,” enriched by my reading of Jason Farago’s accounting of the painting in The Times. Holland Cotter reviewed the show for us. My take: Manet>Degas.

Read: Alexandra Jacobs on Gay Talese’s “Bartleby and Me: Reflections of an Old Scrivener,” in The Times. Also: Vinson Cunningham on the playwright Jeremy O. Harris, in The New Yorker.

Finally, the gymnast Paul Hamm was born on this day in 1982. Here’s his high-bar routine from the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, which brought him a gold medal. See you next week.

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